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Investors in KBR (NYSE:KBR) have made a splendid return of 243% over the past five years

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While KBR, Inc. (NYSE:KBR) shareholders are probably generally happy, the stock hasn't had particularly good run recently, with the share price falling 11% in the last quarter. But that doesn't change the fact that shareholders have received really good returns over the last five years. We think most investors would be happy with the 219% return, over that period. We think it's more important to dwell on the long term returns than the short term returns. Only time will tell if there is still too much optimism currently reflected in the share price.

With that in mind, it's worth seeing if the company's underlying fundamentals have been the driver of long term performance, or if there are some discrepancies.

View our latest analysis for KBR

To quote Buffett, 'Ships will sail around the world but the Flat Earth Society will flourish. There will continue to be wide discrepancies between price and value in the marketplace...' One imperfect but simple way to consider how the market perception of a company has shifted is to compare the change in the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price movement.

We know that KBR has been profitable in the past. However, it made a loss in the last twelve months, suggesting profit may be an unreliable metric at this stage. So it might be better to look at other metrics to try to understand the share price.

We doubt the modest 1.0% dividend yield is attracting many buyers to the stock. In contrast revenue growth of 11% per year is probably viewed as evidence that KBR is growing, a real positive. In that case, the company may be sacrificing current earnings per share to drive growth.

The graphic below depicts how earnings and revenue have changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).

earnings-and-revenue-growth
earnings-and-revenue-growth

It's good to see that there was some significant insider buying in the last three months. That's a positive. On the other hand, we think the revenue and earnings trends are much more meaningful measures of the business. If you are thinking of buying or selling KBR stock, you should check out this free report showing analyst profit forecasts.

What About Dividends?

It is important to consider the total shareholder return, as well as the share price return, for any given stock. The TSR is a return calculation that accounts for the value of cash dividends (assuming that any dividend received was reinvested) and the calculated value of any discounted capital raisings and spin-offs. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. As it happens, KBR's TSR for the last 5 years was 243%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. And there's no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!

A Different Perspective

It's nice to see that KBR shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 25% over the last year. That's including the dividend. However, that falls short of the 28% TSR per annum it has made for shareholders, each year, over five years. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand KBR better, we need to consider many other factors. Consider risks, for instance. Every company has them, and we've spotted 1 warning sign for KBR you should know about.

If you like to buy stocks alongside management, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).

Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US exchanges.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.

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